Monday, June 27, 2005

Think of the Children!

Surprising no one, a number of culture groups are upset about the pay-radio CRTC decision:
OTTAWA - A coalition of arts, labour and other groups is asking the federal cabinet to overturn a regulatory decision that would allow satellite broadcast operators to bring pay-radio service to Canada.

The ruling by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, if allowed to stand, would erode years of efforts to promote and protect Canadian programming on the country's airwaves, says Ian Morrison of the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, one of the groups challenging the decision....
Now, I do think it's bizarre that pay-radio by satellite would have different rules than pay radio by tower, so in a sense I agree with this coalition. But they really are missing a fundamental change in music - technology is allowing people to have more and more choice over what they listen to. Look at television, which has evolved much faster than radio as a medium: The increase in channels available for transmission has actually contributed to the growth of Canadian content - Corner Gas would be a much riskier proposal without CTV being able to rebroadcast on Comedy. This would be impossible without the increase in channels available.

Now, this comparison breaks down a bit - cable television channels are essentially bound by the same regs as basic broadcasters, unlike the looming radio environment. However, what this CRTC policy does is essentially make a bunch of CBCs. CBC is bound by much higher CanCon standards then regular broadcasters. If people want CanCon radio, they'll have that choice. What they won't have is CanCon forced on to non-CanCon channels. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

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